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Dayton school board members clash over decision to buy or lease buses

Published: Monday, March 20, 2017 @ 6:26 PM
Updated: Monday, March 20, 2017 @ 6:56 PM


            A Dayton Public Schools bus. STAFF
A Dayton Public Schools bus. STAFF

A Dayton Public Schools finance committee meeting Monday evening got heated after members disagreed about how many new school buses to acquire and how to pay for them.

Finance committee Chair Joe Lacey decided to step away as chair for this issue, because he disagrees with the committee’s recommendation to buy or lease as many as 115 school buses.

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“I don’t agree with the position that the finance committee is taking,” the school board member said.

But board member Adil Baguirov said it makes much more sense to lease or finance 110 to 115 new buses. He said this will remedy safety risks and will be a better deal for taxpayers.

“I am a proponent of using the power of financing or leasing to afford a lot of buses at once,” he said. “We have a very old fleet of buses.”

The finance committee proposes leasing or financing 110 to 115 buses, instead of buying 30 new buses, which was the district’s original plan. The district has 200 buses, which have an average age of 14 years old.

MORE: Busing problems plague Dayton schools

The district’s oldest bus is 27 years old.

The district budgeted $2.6 million for 2016-2017 to buy new school buses. The district would be able to acquire about 30 new buses.

But Baguirov said it is cheaper and more advantageous to finance 115 buses at once, instead of replacing 30 buses each year.

Depending on what financing option the board chooses, he said, the annual cost to the district could be between $1.1 million to $2.1 million.

The length of financing period could be five to 10 years. Baguirov said the cost of new school buses is expected to increase significantly in coming years, so this would be a wise long-term investment.

Lacey said he disagrees with this approach and asked to step aside as chair of the finance committee when this proposal is introduced.

The chair of the finance committee must present the resolution to the full board.

“I am not advocating for this, because I think I’ll vote against it,” he said. “I think it’s too many — I don’t think we need 115 buses.”

Lacey said he also does not think it is wise to commit the district to such a sizable purchase at this time.

He said the proposal is an overreaction to news coverage and complaints about the condition, age and other concerns about the buses.

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Demand in West Dayton for 1,000 housing units, grocery store

Published: Friday, February 16, 2018 @ 12:16 PM


            DeSoto Bass Courts public housing has about 354 housing units in West Dayton. CORNELIUS FROLIK / STAFF
DeSoto Bass Courts public housing has about 354 housing units in West Dayton. CORNELIUS FROLIK / STAFF

Greater Dayton Premier Management, the local public housing authority, is working on a plan to improve conditions and the housing stock in a poor part of West Dayton where more than 6,000 residents live.

GDPM is targeting five neighborhoods west of Interstate 75 and south of U.S. 35 that have some rundown and aging public housing facilities and many vacant and abandoned structures.

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There’s demand for up to nearly 1,000 new housing units, including a mix of subsidized, senior, market rate and for-sale units, according to a market study done for the agency.

Residents who live in the area, which is home to the DeSoto Bass Courts and Hilltop Homes, also say they want community gardens, a grocery store, a laundromat and increased police presence and visibility, according to a survey of a public housing residents and some neighbors.

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GPDM’s “transformation plan” will be submitted to the federal government, which in the past has awarded tens of millions of dollars to communities to implement their plans and help pay for new housing, amenities and other investments.

The Trump Administration’s current budget does not have funding for implementation, but even without that money, GDPM hopes to remake this part of Datyon, though likely it would take longer and require some adjustments, agency officials said.

“We have alternate plans for our housing if we are not fortunate enough to receive this Choice Neighborhood funding,” said Jennifer Heapy, CEO of GDPM. “We are still committed to a transformation for that particular part of the city — it’ll just take us longer.”

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Montgomery County joins legal fight against opioid drug companies

Published: Tuesday, February 13, 2018 @ 3:22 PM

Montgomery County joins legal fight against opioid drug companies

Following in the footsteps of the city of Dayton and the state of Ohio, Montgomery County plans to sue drug companies or others that county officials allege helped cause the opioid addiction and overdose epidemic that has ravaged the Dayton region and communities across the country.

At a press conference Tuesday afternoon, Montgomery County commissioners announced they have approved an agreement with Motley Rice, one of the nation’s largest plaintiffs’ litigation firms, to take legal action against “individuals and entities related to the marketing, prescribing, distribution or sale of opioids.”

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Montgomery County has hired the firm to investigate and then litigate claims related to the marketing and overprescribing of powerful opioid medications, said Mary Montgomery, chief of civil division of the Montomery County prosecutor’s office.

She said the goal is to hold those people and companies responsible for the opioid crisis accountable for it and try to recover the costs to taxpayers. That includes drug treatment programs, medical care, hospitalizations, law enforcement, prosecution and incarceration, Montgomery said.

Other costs include caring for the children whose parents have died of a drug overdose or who have lost custody because of their drug use, she said.

“Any money recovered will be for treatment programs as well as to reimburse the county for all of the expenses just mentioned,” she said.

Montgomery County has been particularly hard-hit by the opiate crisis, county officials said, noting that between 60 to 70 percent of the bodies in the county morgue last summer were overdose victims.

In 2016, prescribers in the county wrote almost 93 opioid prescriptions for every 100 residents, and there were more opioid prescriptions written each year between 2006 and 2015 than there were people living in the county, said Montomery.

“Nationally, the economic toll of the opioid crisis is estimated to have topped $1 trillion from 2001 to 2017,” she said.

Motley Rice, based in Washington, D.C., is lead counsel in lawsuits filed against pharmaceutical companies by the city of Chicago and Santa Clara County. The firm also represents four states, seven counties and a handful of cities and townships in other opioid-related litigation.

Last year, Santa Clara County, home to Silicon Valley in California, reached a $1.6 million settlement with drug maker Teva over “deceptive” marketing of prescription opioid painkillers, according to Motley Rice.

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Closer to home, the city of Dayton last June announced it was suing more than a dozen pharmaceutical companies, distributors and pain specialists who city officials allege misrepresented the dangers of opioid medications and profited from opioid dependency and use.

This is about basic fairness for Montgomery County taxpayers, and the companies that ignited and fed this deadly epidemic should help clean it up, said Commissioner Dan Foley.

“We believe … that the drug companies have a moral obligation to pay our community back,” Foley said.

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1 officer killed, 2 deputies wounded while serving warrant in Georgia

Published: Friday, February 09, 2018 @ 12:36 PM
Updated: Friday, February 09, 2018 @ 2:09 PM

WATCH: Officers Shot, Suspect Dead in Georgia

A police officer was fatally wounded and two sheriff’s deputies injured Friday after they were shot while serving a warrant in Locust Grove. Authorities said the suspected shooter was shot and killed by an officer.

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1 dead in shooting at veterans nursing home in Georgia

Published: Friday, February 09, 2018 @ 12:03 PM
Updated: Friday, February 09, 2018 @ 1:42 PM

Shooting at Georgia Nursing Home

One person is dead after a shooting Friday at a nursing home for veterans in Georgia. 

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Richmond County sheriff’s deputies were called to the Georgia War Veterans Nursing Home around 11:20 a.m. Deputies said that, upon arrival, they found a person dead of a gunshot wound.

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